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Academy Barbering Students Practice Straight-Edge Shave

Classic Skills Required to Pass State Exam

Academy Barbering students have nerves of steel. To pass the New York State Barbering Exam and become a licensed barber, one of the things test takers must perform is a perfectly executed, traditional, straight-edge shave.

Two students smiling at the camera   A row of barbering students performing the straight-edge shave on fellow students   

To prepare for the exam, the Barbering students at the Eastern Long Island Academy of Applied Technology, Bixhorn Technical Center campus, took time to practice. The Eastern Long Island Academy of Applied Technology is the Career and Technical Education Program of Eastern Suffolk BOCES and has locations in Oakdale, Bellport, and Riverhead.

One student applied a hot towel to another student's face   Close-up image of a student receiving a straight-edge shave

Before students even pick up the razor during the exam, they must correctly drape the cape around the customer, expertly wrap a hot towel around his face to soften the hairs and help them stand upright, and correctly apply lather. Next, they demonstrate a shave that showcases their mastery of the three different razor strokes (freehand, backhand, and reverse freehand) across the 14 planes of the face. Razors need to be held at an exact 45-degree angle throughout the shave. All this in 15 minutes or less as they are being graded. Earlier in the year, students spent time practicing on balloons and then their own arms and legs.

Said James Ricciardo, Academy barbering teacher, “My students weren’t too nervous when we first practiced on balloons. However, when we progressed to one of their legs, they felt it was nerve wracking. They realized just how absolutely essential it is that their razor strokes be nothing less than precise. Now look at them. They are able to shave each other as they prepare for the state board exam.”